Writing team reviews after games against Perth, in Perth, rarely allows you to have a measured perspective on how your team is going. Plenty of good teams have come into Perth aiming to prove they are the real deal, only to be sent home looking like a C grade social team. Last night, the Sixers were one of them.
Adelaide looked very much like the team is probably really is- a team lacking enough basketball IQ, intensity and cohesion to be a serious title threat. It lost the boards by 17 (43-26). It only assisted on 11 baskets with Gibson and Randle both only tallying 1 assist. The team had 16 turnovers and took 15 less field goals than the Wildcats. It was a very, very poor showing.
I see Adelaide's problems lying largely with the following.
Jerome Randle is really good. Like his predecessors, defence isn't a strength but he does plenty on offense. Sometimes falls into taking some bad shots and forgetting he's also supposed to be a distributor (1 assist last night) but he's lifted the team since arriving. Imagine them without him.
Ebi Ere is amazingly third on the team in ppg but isn't doing enough for long enough. Not giving enough for that second import spot and defensively is statue-ish.
In short, all our returning players are down on last year. DJ's numbers are up but he came in late last year and played minimally for the first 4-5 games.
Peach has had some good games, especially since coming off the bench but he has plateaued as a player.
Brendan Teys has had some injury issues and is a victim of falling down the rotation and competing for a handful of minutes in the 2-3 spots.
Gibbo's numbers are very similar to last year but he's been absent too many times at key stages of games.
Mitch Creek has also had some injury issues but by now we all figured he'd be a Boomer, not still without a jump shot and battling for minutes with a 34yr old.
Lucas Walker has had a couple of serviceable games but still gets rendered useless in games by dumb fouls. Has not been the "find" some touted him as being.
Sobey is exciting but also lacks great basketball IQ. He's still young though. Hodgson (currently injured) started the season with a bang but has been largely unsighted since. Carlin is pretty raw but still managed to lead Adelaide in rebounds last night (tied with Peach with 6) despite only playing 13 minutes.
Of the top 5 teams, Adelaide is the second best offensively (ppg) but also second worst defensively, both times only behind Illawarra.
Against the Top 5, Adelaide is 2-5 and sadly still has to face Melbourne and Illawarra three more times, New Zealand two more times and Perth (now 0-3 against) once more. So nine of our next fourteen are against the Top 4.
The team needs to build some consistency, especially in the effort area, if it wants to avoid it's first season out of the playoffs since Joey's arrival. The team's best win streak is two (twice) and it needs to go on a run soon. Perth and New Zealand look locks for the playoffs. Melbourne should be but has dropped off noticeably in the past few rounds. Adelaide looks likely to battle Illawarra for that 4th spot and may face some competition from Townsville who appear to have turned a corner.
Adelaide needs it's leaders to step up, to dramatically lift it's defensive intensity and get it's offense free-flowing again. Starting tomorrow would be good.